Symetrix Tends Church's Sound

To accommodate the growing requirements for musical and spoken performances in the sanctuary of the St. Anthony Claret Catholic Church, a Symetrix SymNet Solus 16 processor was installed to create a system with 12 open inputs that could automix itself. The system was installed by Newport Beach-based 7K Solutions.
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Anaheim, CA (September 13, 2012)—To accommodate the growing requirements for musical and spoken performances in the sanctuary of the St. Anthony Claret Catholic Church, a Symetrix SymNet Solus 16 processor was installed to create a system with 12 open inputs that could automix itself. The system was installed by Newport Beach-based 7K Solutions.

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When it was constructed, the church used a pipe organ as the sole musical source and had only modest spoken word requirements. Today, the pipe organ is joined by a choir and, for some services, by a band that mixes itself on stage. Three microphones cover the choir, and Paul Dexter, owner of 7K Solutions, replaced the band's old mixer with an Allen & Heath MixWizard. Instead of a boundary mic at the altar, St. Anthony Claret now uses three wireless headset microphones for the priests, one wireless handheld microphone, and four optional podium microphones.

The Symetrix SymNet Solus 16 is an open-architecture, stand-alone unit that provides 16 mic/line inputs and eight outputs. The routing, logic, and signal processing that Dexter programmed reflected the specific uses and contexts of each input. Dexter used Symetrix' auto-gain algorithm on all of the microphones to ensure that individuals with both quiet and loud speaking voices could be heard.

In addition to some processing inside the SymNet Solus 16, Dexter corrected the intelligibility problem with a helping of acoustical treatment and a single, nearly-point source loudspeaker cluster. "The walls, ceiling, floor, and pews are all quite reflective," he said. "It was originally meant to amplify the pipe organ." Dexter placed absorptive panels on the ceiling, sidewalls, and back wall, taking care to match colors so that the aesthetic of the church wouldn't be compromised. He placed several panels on the ceiling near the central loudspeaker cluster so as to minimize intelligibility-degrading early reflections. The loudspeakers are Fulcrum Acoustic DX1265s, powered by Powersoft amplifiers.

A Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote provides all of the user control for the system. Dexter fixed the sanctuary's output volume and then provided 10 steps of volume control for wireless microphones (as a group), the podium microphones (as a group), the choir microphones (as a group), and the band's on-stage mixer. Additional menu pages provide output volume for the choir monitor (which contains all content except the choir mics) and the cry room. Behind the scenes, the SymNet Solus 16 provides additional zone control for the foyer and each main loudspeaker. Zoning out the loudspeaker cluster allowed Dexter to shade and tune each element to deliver even coverage from the front seat to the back wall.

"Taken together, the system is very effective," said Dexter. "It sounds great, and they don't need an audio tech on hand. Reverend Preciado tested the system with us, and he walked all around the room, overjoyed by how clear everything sounded.”

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